The Kenyan coastline is one of everybody’s favorite destination. To some the sandy beaches does it, for others it’s the sun, and still for others it’s the lovely coastal people you get to interact with. The coastal foods & the people do it for me. I have been to Mombasa, Diani, Kilifi & Watamu in a period less than a year going back from today. Heck, I’ve been to the coast more times in the past 4 years than I had been in my entire childhood. And it’s been amazing! I wasn’t always a fan of the coast, it’s come to grow on me. The first time I traveled to Coast was when I was 9/10 years old. My mother was too careful with me & so I didn’t enjoy much. On subsequent visits I was either sick or gone for a specific job, having little time to enjoy my time. Not until 2013, coast had never been ‘fun’ to me.
I had never been to Diani before. Half of my visits to Mombasa I stayed in Likoni, but had never ventured past Tiwi Beach. I was excited to tick it off my list. To get there, you need to cross over from the island to Likoni via the Likoni Ferry, then take a cab or matatu to Ukunda town(about 1hr drive). From Ukunda town, Diani is to your left, a road leading to all the hotels & cottages of Diani. Nakumatt Diani is along this road. The preferred mode of transport from Ukunda is tuk-tuks, this to enjoy the weather & have a look around before you get to your residential.
Most guys prefer to sleep in the 3 to 5 star hotels around, but my suggestion is always to camp or rent a house. Airbnb will get you some awesome deals, & your wallet decides your preference. On our stay, we chose Sonnie House, an amazing house off the beaten track. It’s on the 3rd or 4th row of houses, so you are 15-20 minute walk away from the beach. Do not think this is a thumbs down, on the contrary it’s a huge plus. The walk to the beach passes by several other houses, and a few local settlements. I am not a huge people’s person, but I try once in a while to learn other cultures & languages. The locals here(mostly Digos & Durumas) are really friendly & will say hello when you meet them.
Sonnie House was 5 bedroomed, & so can comfortably take 10 persons. And even thpugh we were more, & the owner was kind enough to organise extra beddings for us. The kitchen is well stocked, complete with a fridge & gas cooker. You only need to come with your groceries & food stuffs. The living room had enough seats for all of us, with a TV that was connected to payTV subscription for your entertainment. The house is in a fenced compound, with a baby pool & 6ft deep end swimming pool at your disposal. There are also enough spaces on the outside to just relax & chill. The owners even went one step better & decided to put the dining area outside, one place we really enjoyed eating from.
Diani Beach is said to be where the rich go, leaving the middle class in the Mombasa beaches. Not sure how true this is, considering my financial capabilities..hahaha, but one thing we noticed was the less number of people on the beach compared to Mombasa. We could sometimes be alone on the beach for long stretches, only with a few boat owners trying to convince us to get on board & float away to Robinson Island. We didn’t! Story for another day. Diani beaches are clean, & the waves calmer. The beach has several spots to enjoy your afternoon (or night for the nocturnals). Even the famous Forty Thieves Bar & Restaurant and Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant are here. We, however, chose to relax at Kim4Love Restaurant. Live music by the beach while catching up on the English Premier League games, you bet I wasn’t going anywhere else. The floor is the beach sand, so you won’t need to wipe your feet after getting back from the ocean. From reggae to rhumba to some of our favorite African tunes, the band kept us & other patrons entertained as we slowly enjoyed our drinks. The Nairobi youth we had in our midst even smoked sheesha.
That night guys were off to Forty Thieves for a night out(typical Nairobians), while I was left at the house. (PS: I need suggestions for a place that plays rhumba in Diani. Anyone?) I wish I could talk about the experience, but I’ll be biased. I’ll suggest some places you could spend your night out though; Shakatak Disco, Tandoori Bar & Ushago Sports Bar. Of the 3, I only got to sample Ushago Sports Bar the next day which I must say is a proper sports bar. Complete with couches & 4 huge screens, it’s the place to watch your sports.
Diani is pretty much in the rural, there aren’t much people on the roads past Ukunda. The area around the house was quiet, with only occasional sounds of aircrafts from or to Ukunda Airport. Nakumatt Diani is the place to do your shopping, or Diani Shopping Place. There is also a Naivas Ukunda, but that’s further than Nakumatt. The beach has a lot of activities one can participate in, with SkyDiving the world famous. Snorkeling, Windsurfing & kitesurfing are others. From Diani one can also drive further to Shimoni where you can access the Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park & Wasini Island. Wasini Island is said to be among the best places to visit while on the Kenyan Coast.
On the last day of our visit we had to enjoy the beach one last time, and you bet we had to listen to the band at Kim4Love. It was time to leave when evening came & we had to be dropped at the Likoni Ferry. After boarding the Ferry, we had to wait as a cargo ship lazily went to the Kilindini Harbour. Another one off the list! We managed to get to our bus back to Nairobi, but at a cost. In the process of hurrying to ensure guys got to the bus, my bag was misplaced..my camera, half of the photos I had taken & all my other belongings gone. Not to dampen our spirits though, a small blemish to an amazing time.
So Kilifi √, Watamu √ & Diani √. Lamu Cultural Festival at the end of the year? Maybe, just maybe. Tafadhali serikal saidia!